Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Archive - 31 March 1999

Wow. In only a couple of weeks, Matt and I will have been married for a whole year. It doesn't seem that long. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago? Well, okay, a month. No way was it a year!

I find myself doing this more and more these days. I suppose it's all part of getting older, but it really does seem like time moves much more quickly. I'll catch myself referring to things that happened in college as "a couple of years ago" when it was more like five or six years. I realized last night that my 10-year high school reunion will be this summer. (I need to call the school and see if they know who's organizing it, because I haven't heard a thing, and I really do want to go.) And aside from nearly doubling in size (well, okay - I did double in size, but I'm back down to less than that) I haven't really changed since then... Have I?

It's a little scary to think about. Don't you remember being in school and thinking it was going to be forever until your next birthday, or Christmas, or whatever? My parents would always say the same dumb thing: "It'll be here before you know it." I never understood it. The closer we got to the desired day, the slower time seemed to crawl. But this year, sometime in mid-December, I suddenly noticed the date and I thought, Wow. Before I know it, it'll be Christmas! Spooky.

Things to remember if I ever have kids of my own:
  • All love lasts forever. Saying "You'll have forgotten him completely in a while" may be true, but it isn't adequate consolation.
  • Yes, it does matter what their friends think - and if their best friend were to jump off a bridge, they very well might do it, too!
  • Even very young children understand sex and sensuality far better than their parents would like to believe.
  • After puberty, being confined to your room isn't much of a punishment.
  • Make the rules just a little stricter than you really think they should be - if they get a guilty rush from something that doesn't really bother you that much, (and they don't know it doesn't bother you) then maybe they'll hesitate at doing anything more.
  • Remember to smile! (This isn't actually an echo from my own childhood - this is a response to a woman with three adorable little girls that I see at the gym who never - and I mean never - smiles at them. It's sad.)
Enough. Maybe I'll work on this list again sometime, when it might actually matter.

We had dinner with Chuck and Anita Monday night, which was nice since we hadn't seen them since before Christmas. Anita is hugely pregnant, and she seems to be enjoying herself now that she's past the nausea phase. Though they're both a little stressed over the reorganizing they'll have to do to fit the baby into their house and lives, which is completely understandable. But they both seem very excited and happy.

Once again, I found myself thinking about what it would be like if Matt and I were in their shoes. As we were leaving, I almost asked Matt what he would think if I were to change my mind about not wanting children. I didn't say anything because I didn't want him to think it was just another momentary waffle on my part. But I've been thinking about it, off and on.

I grew up knowing that I would have kids of my own one day. There was no need to question - it's just what you did. You grew up, you got married, and you had kids. The questions were things like whether you worked or stayed home; how many children you would have; whether you wanted boys or girls or both. Only in the last five years or so have I questioned that certainty and thought that I might not want children. And now, I'm questioning again. Maybe it was a phase I was going through? Fear, or the certainty that I simply wasn't ready for parenthood, or maybe just the desire not to have to share my sweetheart with anyone else.

I'm not saying that I've changed my mind. I still don't think that I'm ready to be a mother. And if Matt never changes his mind, then it won't matter anyway, because I am not going to force fatherhood on him if he doesn't want it. But I am starting to think that I may one day change my mind. Maybe in a few months or years. Maybe I'll swing back to the "no kids" side when our friends start their families and I can be frightened again by how much work it is. Maybe my waffling is related to that feeling of time passing too swiftly. I don't know. This is just a journal - talking to myself out loud. I don't promise any answers.

Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Archive - 30 March 1999

This morning as I was combing my hair, I was mulling over something I wanted to write about in the journal today. But now that I'm ready to write, I have no idea what it was. Of course. Well, maybe it will come to me.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Matt recently found an email address for an old friend of ours from college, and she turned up on the MeadeHall last night. Whee!

I'm feeling a little punchy this morning. Not enough sleep, I suppose. Even though the cat didn't wake me up early this morning. (No, he hasn't suddenly realized the benefits of waiting until dawn to wake me up - he was such a stink as we were trying to go to bed last night that we put him out for the whole night. Boy, was he pathetic this morning when I let him in.)

This weekend, while we were watching The Godfather (well, sortof - I'd already missed too much of it to understand all the stuff going on in the background, so I wasn't paying much attention) Jen mentioned the possibility that she might call on Matt or I to be godparents for her kids, when she has them.

Matt and I were a little surprised. As far as I know, the responsibility of godparents is to instruct the child in religious matters, and provide an example. Jen isn't especially devout, but she is a Catholic. Matt and I are not only not Catholic, we're not even Christians. Jen, however, thought of godparents not so much as religious teachers as spiritual guides and a moral example, and if you leave explicit religious matters out of it, Matt and I were willing to consider it. By coincidence, just about this time the christening scene played on the movie, and the priest started asking whats-his-name (I told you I wasn't paying attention) who was going to be the baby's godfather whether he had accepted Jesus as his savior and whatnot, and we pointed this out to Jen. "You talk to your priest," I told her, "and find out if we have to do anything like that, because I'm not lying to a priest!" Jen thought it was a little strange that I would care more about lying to a priest than to anyone else if I'm not a Catholic.

It was a little strange, because I'd never really thought about it much myself, and I had to suddenly figure out my reasons and explain them. I'm afraid the explanation Jen heard was more than a little garbled.

It boils down to respect. Just because I don't believe the same thing the priest does, doesn't mean that I don't respect his beliefs. In fact, I respect priests a very great deal, because their beliefs are so strong that they've dedicated their lives to them. Right or wrong, that sort of dedication deserves respect. I don't really care to lie to people in general - I'll stretch the truth, or bend it a little, but I try not to tell out-and-out lies. Now I believe in God - but it's not the Christian God or even necessarily the Only God. And I believe that Jesus existed, and that he was a deeply spiritual person - but not that he was the Son of the Only God, and I don't believe that leaning on his memory is the best way for me to face my life. And if I lie to a priest - who is terribly dedicated to these beliefs - then I am, in essence, mocking those beliefs, whether he ever finds out about it or not.

I have, in the past, kept quiet about my beliefs, rather than begin arguments or engender hard feelings. But when asked directly, about something that important... I won't - I can't lie.

Monday, March 29, 1999

Archive - 29 March 1999

Gods, my head hurts. It started as soon as I got in the shower this morning, and has been coming and going in waves all morning. If it doesn't go away by lunchtime, I'll go home and take a nap, and come back at 4:30 to pick up Matt. I hope it's just lack or sleep or something like that, and not that I'm getting sick.

At least it looks like it's going to be a nice day. Sunny and bright and temperatures in the 70s. The kind of day that makes me wish I didn't have to work. ::sigh:: Speaking of having to work, Jeremy read Friday's journal entry where I accused him of being a workaholic, and he wrote this reply.

I had a great weekend. Matt and I made good time on our drive up to Christiansburg, and we got to the Kenney's around 9 on Friday. Friday night we talked and watched TV and petted the animals. Saturday, we had pancakes and bacon for breakfast (gosh, I love visiting friends who like to cook!) and while I was cooking pancakes, my brother's fianceé called, and we made arrangements for them to come over. Jen and I had agreed that it would be fun to dye Easter eggs, and I had promised to bring a dye kit if she would get the eggs. Jen had bought three dozen eggs, which, after pulling out the eggs she left uncooked and the eggs that cracked in boiling, left us with about two dozen eggs to dye. Sam's mom had sent her three different dye kits, so she promised to bring those - and she showed up with another three dozen eggs! It took the five of us (Brian didn't want to play) three or four hours to do them all (we weren't just dying the eggs, we were decorating them, and John was an art major...) and when we were done, we had five dozen hard-boiled, decorated eggs. I brought one dozen home with me, but since Matt doesn't like eggs, I don't know how they're all going to get eaten before they go bad...

Saturday night we went out to dinner with John and Sam and two friends of theirs. That was fun, though once we sat down we pretty much divided up into two groups of four. Anyway, I enjoyed seeing John and Sam - I haven't seen them since Christmas, and I don't know how much of them I'll get to see this summer. We took our leave of them after dinner, and Saturday night we sat around talking and watching movies again. I had sworn up, down, and sideways that I wouldn't see Austin Powers, but they inflicted it on me and it was actually sortof funny. At least, I enjoyed the spoofing of James Bond style spy movies. Some of it was unbelieveably slow, stupid, and/or unnecessary, and I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater, but it wasn't too bad.

Sunday morning, unfortunately, Jen was sick, so Matt and I didn't linger too long. We got on the road a little after 10, and made it home right around 3. Matt, the darling, insisted that since I had been driving for over four hours, that he would do the laundry. I put up a token resistance, but was so tired that I didn't bother protesting much. If I haven't said it recently enough, I adore my husband.

Tonight we're having dinner with our friends Chuck and Anita, because we haven't seen them in far too long. Matt was a little irritated when he realized that we weren't going to have time to go to our aerobics class before dinner, but it works out for the best, because we were feeling lazy yesterday and didn't bother with the grocery shopping.

And my headache is still with me. Luckily, it seems to be just a mild throbbing as long as I'm sitting very still. It's only when I move that I get this sensation of having small gnomes mining in my sinuses. I took some Advil earlier, but it isn't helping. I'll try a couple of aspirin, and hope like hell that it's not a virus.

Friday, March 26, 1999

Archive - 26 March 1999

Hey, I think I've officially been journalling for two months now. Cool!

Yesterday at lunch, Matt and Jeremy and I were talking about whether we would work if we didn't have to. Matt and I fell solidly into the No category. Jeremy - workaholic that he is - said he probably would. I guess some people just can't stand not having something to do. Not that I'd be bored. If I didn't have to work, that would imply I had plenty of money. If I had plenty of money, I can think of a lot of things I'd want to do. Travel. Set up my own darkroom. Go back to school and take all those classes I was afraid to take the first time around because they sounded hard enough to hurt my GPA. It was sortof like the oft-held discussion: What would you do if you won the lottery?

I was thinking about it in the shower this morning, too. But you know what I'd probably really do, if I never had to worry about money? Buy lots of presents. I love giving people presents. I don't much like trying to think of what to get someone, but every so often I'll see something and think, "Oh, I bet Ralph would love this!" (Not really Ralph. I don't know anyone named Ralph. It was just an example.) Don't get me wrong, I'd buy things for myself, too. And contribute to charities. But I love to give my friends and family presents. If I never had to worry about money, I'd always be buying things for other people.

I'd hire a landscaping company to bring my parents some real dirt for their mostly-clay yard. (You laugh. My mom has said for years that if she ever won the lottery, the first thing she'd buy would be dirt.) I'd buy Matt a top of the line, fully loaded computer. And I'd get us an iMac, too, because I think they're cute. I'd make sure my brother and his fiancée have exactly the sort of wedding they've always dreamed of. I'd make sure Matt's brother and sister get through college without having to worry about the loans that Matt had. (Matt says he'd set them up through their PhDs if that's what they wanted. I don't know that I'd do that - tuition, sure, but not living expenses. I think it was good for me to learn how to live on less than $10K a year.)

Just thinking about it is exciting. I won't even try to list all of my ideas here. It's just thrilling to even consider being able to do so much.

But, alas, while I make a very comfortable living, I'm hardly wealthy.

Matt and I are going to Christiansburg this weekend to visit our friends Jen and Brian Kenney. Eat some good food, dye some Easter eggs, tell some fun stories, do a little gaming. If we manage to get ahold of them, we might try to get together with my brother and his fiancee for lunch or something. We're leaving the office early today because we have a stack of errands to run before we head out of town, and because we want to leave as early as possible to see our friends. Leaving work early is always good, too. ::grin::

So, it looks like it's going to be a good day, and a good weekend (except for all the driving and having to scramble a bit to get the weekend chores done when we get back on Sunday.) But I'm looking forward to it.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 25, 1999

Archive - 25 March 1999

Okay, I'm really sorry to everyone who's been waiting impatiently all morning for the solution to the puzzle! But I actually had to (gasp) do work this morning, so I haven't been able to get to this. Go on, scroll right away to the bottom of the page and find out how the knight was able to avoid being executed, and then you can come back and read this. If it makes you feel any better, I didn't solve this puzzle the first time I read it, either. If you did, good for you!

We'll be leaving work a little early today, so we can go down to the Commissioner's office. As Matt said this morning, it'll be a good day today. I like Thursdays anyway, just because I get to go home right after work.

Today and tomorrow are medium dress-up days at the office. We call them DressCon 2 days. Dress Con 3 is the norm - as our senior V.P. explains it, anything goes that would be acceptable on a golf course. Yeah, I get to wear jeans to work most days. T-shirts are even okay, as long as they don't have any potentially offensive slogans on them. (For a while, t-shirts were not okay, but I don't really feel comfortable wearing t-shirts to work anyway. But I see plenty of other people doing it.) Dress Con 2 is what the rest of the world calls "business casual" - slacks instead of jeans, no sneakers, collared shirts. (Of course, that's the regs for the guys. No one ever states the rules for the women's clothes, because women's clothes are so nebulous, especially in the corporate world.) And very rarely, we'll have a Dress Con 1, which means the men all have to wear button-down shirts and ties. I love working in such a casual office.

Last night, Matt stayed up late to watch a TV show he'd been wanting to see, and when he came to bed, I snuggled up close and fell asleep with my head on his shoulder. This is a little unusual for us, because neither of us really like to be warm when we're going to sleep, and body heat is just a bit too high. I don't know how long I was asleep when I woke up again, but what went through my mind was Oh, shit, I was just going to snuggle for a little bit and then let him go to sleep and instead I dozed off - I bet his arm is completely bloodless by now! I got out a mumbled, "I'm sorry" as I was turning over, and he asked, "Why?" I couldn't answer that, so I just re-fluffed my pillow and went back to sleep.

Then, this morning I didn't want to get out of bed. It was too warm and cozy, and entirely too early in the morning to think about anything but more sleep. (I'm not a morning person. I know several women who get up at 5 or 5:30 in order to exercise, shower, eat breakfast, and put on makeup, but I'm doing well if I can drag myself out of bed by 6:15 and perform the minimum necessary preparations: shower and get dressed. I'm lucky if I remember to comb my hair.) But I dragged myself vertical and headed for the bathroom, and turned to ask Matt if he needed to use the bathroom before I took my shower (I'll be so glad when we have more than one bathroom) and he shook his head and sortof stretched out his arms like a shy toddler asking for a hug, and how can you ignore something like that? So I went back to the bed and cuddled with him for another ten minutes or so, and almost went back to sleep. ::sigh:: Some mornings it's just so hard to get moving.

Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Archive - 24 March 1999

Something new today - I've decided to start a Puzzle of the Day. It's at the bottom of the entry. With luck, there will be a new puzzle every day, and I'll post the solution the next day. No, I won't tell you what the answer is in advance.

We got a postcard in the mail yesterday: "Dear Taxpayer: Please call the Commissioner of Revenue's Office within five days of receipt of this notice in regards to your Virginia State Income Tax Return." But someone had scrawled "Good News!" at the bottom of the card, so I thought perhaps I had made an arithmetic error (which I've been known to do, though I thought I had checked our return twice) and the correction was in our favor.

Not even close. The nice lady I talked to explained that she had re-worked our return with the status Married Filing Separately, and that instead of having to pay the state a couple of hundred dollars, we were actually due to get a little back! Wow!

Before you ask, I had fully intended to do the math for both joint and separate filings, to see which turned out better. But the first line of the VA Tax form asks you to fill in the adjusted income from our federal forms - and because we were taking advantage of Matt's student loans, we'd had to file our federal return jointly. Since there was only one number to fill in, I had no idea how to fill out the state form for separate filings. (The form allows you to file separately on the same piece of paper. It's weird.) So I just filed jointly, and assumed that filing separately would only have saved us a couple of bucks anyway.

Next year, I'll have to remember.

Last night while I was waiting for the Weight Watcher's meeting to start, I started making a list of things that I could talk about in this journal. It covered a wide range of topics, from the deep and thoughtful to the simple and silly. Politics, guys I've dated, religion, favorite books and movies, friendship, gaming... They all seemed like such good topics. Worth talking about.

But how does one start talking about something, without an event to spark the topic? Would it make sense to any of you if I suddenly went off into an explanation of how I got into gaming? Or if I wrote an essay on my religious beliefs? No, I didn't think so. Other journals that I read don't seem to have any problems with this. They talk about childhood experiences, and the things that are important to them, and it never seems forced to me. But I sat down to write and opened my Zaurus to pick something off the list, and I couldn't think of how to start a single topic.

Oh, well. I won't toss the list away. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to make it read like it was just something that had been on my mind.

I broke my promise and whined about aerobics this morning. I was already in a somewhat irritable mood because this rash I've had lately was especially itchy, and I thought we were skipping class because the teacher wasn't going to be there. So when Matt said, "Oh yeah, we don't have our bags for class," and went to put his together, I slipped and whined a little bit about it. So sue me. I don't think we've had this sub before, so I guess I have to give her a chance. But if she's rude to me, I'm getting out of the water immediately. I just can't stand people being rude to me. But I guess I can clench my teeth and get through this class, because we won't be going on Friday (we're going out of town) or Monday (we're having dinner with friends). But I don't have to like it.

Enough growling.

Something weird: It seems these days like half my friends and acquaintances either just had a baby, are pregnant (or their wives are, smartass), or they're trying to have a baby. Oh, I know it's not really that many - it just seems like it. And some of them aren't actively trying right now - but they talk excitedly about the possibility of children for the future. I'm a little weirded out by the whole thing, because Matt and I have decided that we're definitely not having any children for the next couple of years, and we're pretty sure we don't want any at all. I'll get into our reasons another time, but that's what we decided.

But all these pregnant people and children around me have me wondering if we really mean it when we say we don't want any. Sometimes we run into a particularly obnoxious specimen, or the kid's classes at the pool are extraordinarily loud, and I feel vindicated. But almost as often, I encounter a sweet child and wish I could take them home with me. And I haven't managed to turn off my animal instincts completely, so the look and smell and feel of a quiet, happy baby is very pleasant. And every once in a while, I really want to hold a baby in my arms and sing in my terrible singing voice... But that little bit certainly isn't enough to base the decision to become a parent on, is it? Especially when the desire can be so easily quelled. Any child under the age of about 6 is looked at with suspicion when we're in public. You never know when they're going to start making that shrieking noise that makes my brain feel like it's shriveling up and trying to escape out my ears. And I read in other journals online about all the problems those parents have with their kids, and I wonder how I could ever do that to myself while admiring those parents for their obvious deep love and devotion.

I brought it up because last night we saw our friends Chuck and Anita in person (as opposed to via e-mail) for the first time in months, and Anita is hugely pregnant. We've known she was pregnant for a good while - she's due at the beginning of June - but the last time we saw them, she wasn't showing much yet. And as I thought about it, I found myself really looking forward to seeing and playing with their baby.

Oh, I don't know. It's all too confusing. I'm going to get back to work; you go look at the Puzzle of the Day.

Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Archive - 23 March 1999

Little while ago I bought a book called Match Wits with Mensa. It's a quiz book. I love puzzles and games, and - hey look out, is she going to say something nice about herself for once? - I'm actually pretty smart, so I thought I'd see how I did with this. The answers section of each quiz tells how Mensa members did on the quiz as a whole and on each individual question, which was nice in the Trivia section, because I only got seven out of twenty correct - but a lot of the questions were followed by numbers below 50%, which is to say less than 50% of the polled Mensa members knew the correct answer. I got every single answer correct on the Vocabulary section. I'm pretty happy about that, because when I took my SATs and GREs, the verbal section was my least impressive.

There's a section in the back that tells you how you can join Mensa if you want to: You have to have scored in the upper 2% of test takers for a number of specific standardized tests. As far as I know, I've never had an IQ test, but they list SATs and GREs among them, and whaddya know? I qualify! They say between 1974 and 1994, a combined SAT score of 1250 qualifies, and I got a 1330. I can't remember what I got on my GREs, but I'm pretty sure I still have a copy on file somewhere. Maybe I'll join. No, seriously! But first I'll want to work through this book...

A notice in the hallway warned us to "secure our pets" because the maintenance crew is coming by today to change the air filters on the heaters. So we had to lock Diamond in the back room. I always feel like such a bad person when we do that... Especially since the cat has no idea why he's being punished. ::sigh:: I'm such a terrible mother.

I seem to have infected a number of my friends with journal-itis. Matt has his Random Scribblings section, and Jeremy has a work-only journal on his 3GI site, and KT is thinking of adding a journal to her webpage, when she gets it put together, called Me Too, Me Too! ::grin::

It made me wonder why I was doing it. What earthly reason is there to have a journal online? Probably as many reasons as there are people - or at least journallers - but why am I doing it? I'm not sure, but I'll be thinking about it. When it started, I just thought it was a neat idea and I wanted to try it. But it's been almost two months now, and there's no sign of my stopping. Why, when every other journal I've tried to keep has fizzled out after only a few entries?

Maybe because this one is online. Because I know other people are reading it, and I'd feel like I'd let them down if they didn't have something to read every day, even if it's boring or whiney. I've always worked better when there's a deadline to meet. But that can't be the sole reason.

I feel like I should really examine my reasons, even if I never post them. Suddenly, it's become important to me to explain why I feel compelled to take half an hour every morning and write something. Why it feels better that I write every day, even if what I write has no substance, than if I save my writing for when I have something worthwhile to say. Why I have this need to be known by complete strangers.

Maybe I just don't want to get to work.

Monday, March 22, 1999

Archive - 22 March 1999

All right, all right, I know. I didn't update this weekend. I had forgotten to take my Zip disk home with me, and I don't like to make updates directly on the server. So that's why. It's a crummy excuse, but it's all you're going to get.

Friday night we went to visit my parents after dinner. We wound up talking until almost midnight, which was nice. We talked about our own pet theories about reading and how different people read. This is something my dad and I have talked about before, because I love to read, and my dad really hates it. I won't get into it here, but I may bring it back up another time. But finally Matt caught my eye and indicated that he was getting pretty tired, so we headed home.

Saturday we loafed around the house most of the day, and then we walked up the street to see the Mystery Dinner Theater with some other people from the office. Since we were walking and Matt was going to pay, I didn't bother bringing my purse with me. When we got there, Matt paid the entry fee, and we decided what kind of entree we wanted, and then we were seated. Looking at the menu/program, we both saw a note at the bottom, stating that the entry fee didn't include tips for the staff, and a suggestion of an appropriate tip. I looked at Matt. There hadn't been a place on the credit-card slip to indicate a tip, and neither of us had any cash with us. Matt slipped out to the lobby of the hotel that the theater was in to see if the front desk would let him get some cash, but they wouldn't. We felt kindof bad about not being able to leave a tip (actually, we did leave a tip - Matt found a couple of bucks in his wallet - but it was woefully inadequate) but really, you'd think they'd make it a little easier!

Sunday we did the chores and then went to K.T.'s apartment to play Alternity. It was a slow game, though. The characters are about to head into Certain Death (well, okay, it isn't really Certain, but it's darn close!) and we kept getting distracted and going off on side tangents anyway. So nothing much of note happened. Matt and I had a talk in the car on the way home about my character - I won't go into details here; I was just dissatisfied because 1) my character is supposed to be the party leader, but every time anything important happens, no one ever wants to do what I tell them to. They all go off on their own tangents, and it's irritating. Especially Kevin's character, who keeps finding things that could be really useful if he'd just tell us about them! (Note that I don't really blame Kevin for that - he's just playing the character - but it's still frustrating.) And 2) because my character is more of an administrator than anything else, I seem to be gaining experience points much slower than everyone else. For the last five games, I've only gotten the "thanks for coming" and "roleplaying" points, and everyone gets those. Other points are supposed to come from other players noticing when you do something impressive. Every game, someone suggests that Matt get a point for impressively smashing in a bad guy's skull. Matt argues - because that's what his character is supposed to do, so it's not all that impressive for him - but he gets the point anyway. Last night, the doctor got a point for doing his job. Greg usually gets a humor point. But my character isn't an impressive fighter, doesn't have any life-saving skills, and I'm not usually that funny. Did I get a point for getting us in to see the planetary council? Nope. Should I have? Not technically - it was my job - but it seems like there just aren't any ways for me to impress my fellow players with the character I'm currently playing. To make matters worse, she spends about half of every game out of action because she's of a delicate race and every combat puts her in the hospital. ::sigh:: Wow. So much for not getting into it; I guess I'm still a little irritable about it. I'll stop now, I promise. I apologize to my non-gaming readers for getting totally spooky, there...

As I was drying off after my shower this morning, my gaze happened to fall on my bathing suit, hanging on the doorknob to dry. Then it suddenly occurred to me that my gym bag was still in the car from Friday, when we skipped aerobics class - but why was the suit still in the bathroom? And the water shoes, too! I realized that the gym bag in the car contained my towel and nothing else. Oops. Guess it was a good thing we'd skipped class on Friday!

This weekend we're going up to Christiansburg for a weekend of gaming with my friend Jen and her husband Brian. (Why do I always say that? It's not like Matt and Jen aren't friends, or that Brian isn't our friend. I guess it's just that I knew Jen before either of us had met our husbands. But how important is it to know what the relationships used to be if they're different now? Weird.) Anyway, Jen calls these trips the Lost Weekend. (I find myself somewhat amused by the name, because I first encountered the phrase "Lost Weekend" in a book where it had distinct sexual overtones.) But this will be gaming. And probably lots of just sitting around and talking and telling stories. I'm looking forward to it, even if it means that it won't be very relaxing (no matter how much fun the weekend is, staying up late and sleeping in a strange house and driving four hours each way isn't very relaxing) and we'll have to rush on Sunday to get all the chores done on time. But I've known Jen longer than any other non-family member that I have regular contact with, and we haven't seen her and Brian for several months, so I'm definitely excited. Need to remember to bring some allergy medicine with me this time, though.

Anyway, I've put off doing work plenty long now, so I'll sign off until tomorrow...

Friday, March 19, 1999

Archive - 19 March 1999

KT got a job, through her temp agency, working at the Law Library. It sounds extraordinarily boring - data entry and the like - but at least she's getting paid. I asked about the resume she put in here, and got the distinct impression that I should keep my nose out of it. But she hasn't gotten an rejection letter from us yet, so I guess there's hope. Jeremy and I met her yesterday for lunch at Peking, and despite the fact that less than a year ago KT was still insisting that she didn't like Jeremy and Jeremy was professing a profound lack of interest in KT's opinion of him, it went pretty well. I chanced dragging Jeremy along because KT had mentioned on Monday night's Meade Hall session that she had been thinking of giving Jeremy another chance - without the bias instilled by Jeremy's ex-girlfriend.

It's amazing how much people can change, isn't it? Two years ago I would have bet that KT's opinion of Jeremy would never change. But then, two years ago, I would have bet that her opinion of her father would never change, either. Enough of that.

Last night, Matt and I rented A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum. It was kindof cute, but it dragged terribly in places. We always do much better when Matt picks the movie. At least when we're renting. The action-adventure movie we rented last week was full of plot holes, and (as I expected) I was pretty bored with the shoot-em-up-bang-bang bits, but at least it had funny dialogue! ::sigh:: I also rented Mr. Bean's Bits (best-of clips from the Mr. Bean TV shows) so I hope that's better. Rowan Atkinson is fairly reliably funny, at least. Halfway through A Funny Thing... I found myself looking at the VCR timer and mentally whining about how much time was left. And I'd picked it out - I couldn't just turn it off! At least it picked up near the end. I'd have done better, though, to go with my first impulse and rent Man in the Iron Mask or something we'd seen before and wanted to see again.

You know that review I was supposed to have yesterday at 9:00? At 9:15, my supervisor called and asked if we could move it to 10. Well, I had another meeting at 10, so we re-scheduled the review for 2:30. At 2:30, he was still putting his desk together (he got a new desk yesterday) but he promised to holler for me as soon as he was done. (His office is right across the hall from mine, so that's not as preposterous as it sounds.) At 3:15 or so, a manager from the business office called and wanted my supervisor in on a conference call that he swore would only take ten minutes. The conference call was finally over around 4:20. At 4:30 (after a bathroom and coffee break which even I couldn't begrudge him after a hour-long call), I finally got my review! I got to tell him what I'd worked out about the problems I'd had this year, and what kind of work I'd prefer for the upcoming year. He agreed with my assessment of my strengths and my weaknesses, and suggested some ways that I could address both with the project I'll be on starting next week. And he gave me my raise, which was a little higher than I'd been expecting, but not as phenomenal as the last couple of raises.

And that's enough about work, too.

I realized when I started writing this that new readers might not know who KT and Jeremy were, or even Matt. I thought about writing a Cast of Characters section. Even started working on it. Then I realized, I already have one, and it's accessible from the same page as the journal index. So much for that space-filler. ::grin::

I'm so happy it's Friday. I've just been exhausted all week - I hope I can manage to sleep in a little this weekend. But before I do that, I have to finish up this project here at work, then go to water aerobics (without whining!) and write a politely nasty letter to our realtor and the builder of our house to tell them we're irritated that they haven't started building yet.

So much to do, so little time...

Thursday, March 18, 1999

Archive - 18 March 1999

Today I'll have my annual review. My supervisor will tell me what he's thought of my work for the last year, and how much money I'll be making this year. I've worked for 3GI for a little over three years, now, and I've had three raises, and they've all been very generous. I'm not worried about the money. Even if I don't get a raise at all - which is very unlikely - Matt and I have worked our budget for the new house based on our current salaries. Anything more is icing on the cake.

But part of the review process is that I have to fill out this very Dilbert-esque form, reviewing myself over the past year, and listing goals for the upcoming year. In the past, the goals part has always been sortof difficult. I didn't really have any goals. I was happy with my job, and I didn't want it to change. But it feels really dumb to put down for a goal: "To keep doing the same things I've been doing." So I'd Dilbert it up: "To continue to provide quality software solutions..." Like that.

This year, I found, to my surprise, that I actually want to do new things. I want to learn how to work with networks. As much as I love tweaking my website - I'd like to get involved with 3GI's company site and to work on web-based applications. I also think that, now that 3GI has more than twenty programmers, my primary skill (I learn new programming languages faster than anyone else I know - I spent a long time as a sort of de facto jack-of-all-trades) isn't as useful as it once was. So now I think my most useful skill, as far as the company is concerned, is my ability to create algorithms. Years of theoretical mathematics training at work. I'd like to work on some sort of design team that would figure out what applications a project needed, and how those applications would work (in a general sense) and then move on to a different project when that one has been figured out and turned over to the programmers.

I don't want to stop programming altogether, but I think my design skills could be more useful to the company than my programming skills. And I've found over this year that I get very bored with a project if I have to work on it for more than a couple of months. And the longer I stay bored with a project, the more irritable I feel about it. Only a month ago, I had to request that my supervisor move me to a different project because I was getting so fed up with the project I was on that I had actually contemplated looking for another job. Now, I know it would be practically impossible to find a job as good as this one. But that project had become so tedious that I literally couldn't see beyond it. Luckily, my supervisor was very understanding and promised to move me to another project as soon as the current phase was finished with the project I was on. True to his word, I'm on a new project now, and this one should only last about two weeks - and then I'll be on yet another project.

Yeah, I know, you probably couldn't care less about my career goals, but I'm sortof mentally rehearsing all the things I want to say when my supervisor gets caught up and calls me into his office. (That's something that annoys me. Meetings with him almost never happen when they're scheduled to. I was supposed to start my review fifteen minutes ago, and here I am, still typing away. I had to tell him already that I have another meeting at 10, so it may be tomorrow before I get my review. I hate waiting.

I fed a bug to my Venus Fly Trap plant yesterday. (Man, that's way too long. I need to name the plant something. What's a good name for a carnivorous plant?) A fake ladybug got into our office and was crawling around on Jeremy's window, so I captured it and put it in the dome over the plant. Matt and I watched it, fascinated, for about ten minutes, and then we went to lunch. It was still there after lunch, but I looked up from my work at one point and the bug was gone and one of the traps had closed. (You can still see just a little bit of orange shell peeking out of the trap.) So I don't have to find another bug for the plant for at least a week, maybe two.

I need to transplant it into a bigger pot, though. Some of the traps already brush up against the sides of its dome, and the information I have on Venus Fly Traps indicates that it could grow to more than twice its current diameter. But to do that, I'll need to find someplace that sells long-fibered peat moss. Shouldn't be too hard, but I doubt I'll find it at the local KMart.

Anyway, that's it for now...

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

Archive - 17 March 1999

Whooooo-hoo! What a fantastic night I had last night! According to the Weight Watcher's scale, I lost almost three and a half pounds last week! (Okay, about a pound of that is probably due to the fact that I was wearing lighter clothes than usual - but at least two of it is real loss!) That's a grand total of twenty-three pounds lost so far! I could actually get my 25-pound bookmark next week! And then after the meeting, I got to my car, opened the door, and confronted a bunch of balloons in the driver's seat! Wow. My sweetie is just the greatest, isn't he?

But wait! The balloons are tied to... What is this? A small plastic flowerpot with a cover on it? The sun was mostly down, and the balloons blocking the car's light... Move them a bit, and... Oh, wow! A Venus Fly Trap plant! Cool! (Yeah, I know. It doesn't sound very romantic to you. But Matt know what I like, and something just a little bit strange, like a bug-eating plant, is right up my alley!) I moved the plant and the balloons to the passenger's seat, and got ready to head home and give Matt a huge hug.

Then I realized that there was a note attached to the plant. So I opened it, expecting the usual sort of gift-note: "Just wanted to say I love you," - that sort of thing. But this note said, "Pop the red balloon last." (There are several white balloons and one red one.) I looked carefully at the balloons, and sure enough, it looked like there are notes inside them. So I pulled out my Swiss Army knife and try to pop a white balloon. It didn't pop. (Should I mention that my Swiss Army knife is about fifteen years old badly needs to be replaced?) I tried again, and still no pop.

Then I remembered: Two weeks ago, Matt also put notes inside balloons for me. And when I popped those, pieces of balloon and the note flew all over the place. If I popped these balloons in my car, in the dark, I would never find the notes. So I decided to take them home and open them inside. I wound up having to weight the balloons down with my lunchbox so I can see where I'm going. But I got home.

When I walked through the door with the balloons, Matt looked crushed. "You didn't read the note!" he wailed. I realize that behind him, he had completely cleaned off our flat filing cabinet of a dining-room table, and there were lit candles, and another red balloon tied to my chair... I protested that I had read the note, but been unable to pop the balloons. So he found me a knife, and I popped them right then and there. Each of the white balloons contained a small love note. The final red balloon urged me to hurry home for a candlelit dinner, and promised to take me to the movies on Thursday. How cool can you get?

Dinner was wonderful, and reminded me why I want to insist that we actually sit down for dinner at our new house. (It isn't going to happen at our current apartment, because that table is the only place we can put our bills and mail and assorted crap. When we move, I'm going to buy an actual desk for that stuff, so I'll be able to enforce keeping the dining-room table cleared.) For dessert, Matt had taken one of my pre-sorted, obsessive little packets of Jelly Bellys, and arranged them into the shape of a heart.

I have the greatest husband in the world.

Oh, and I finally decided how I was going to reward myself for weight-loss milestones. It's so obvious, I don't know why I didn't think of it before: I'll take a day off from work. The Friday after a milestone (or as close as I can manage, project permitting) I'll take off and give myself a three-day weekend. Sleep late. Lounge around the house. Go shopping. Whatever. And I've got a ton of leave saved up. Sounds good to me! Now I'm trying to decide what the milestones will be. I was originally thinking every fifteen pounds, but Matt thought every ten would be good. I have some time to decide; my next milestone will be at 30 pounds, either way.

Oh, an' I'll be wishin' ye a Happy St. Paddy's Day, don'cha know...

Tuesday, March 16, 1999

Archive - 16 March 1999

I got a letter from my friend K.T. yesterday that sortof floored me. It seems that she had just read a bunch of my journal entries at once, and had gotten the distinct impression from them that I have a very low self-esteem.

That's actually not far from the truth. I'm not my own biggest fan, and Matt and I have on occasion had actual arguments about my worth. My sense of self-worth is, in all probability, much lower than it has every right to be. (Though to be fair, it has improved enormously in the last several years.) What astonished me is how much of it she could read from this journal.

Of course, she's been one of my best friends for many years, and so I'm sure she could read between the lines better than a stranger. And I whine a lot in this journal. When I'm happy, I tend not to write about it - does anyone really want to read about me being deliriously happy with my husband? (Though, for that matter, does anyone want to read about me being depressed?) The point is, a journal by its very nature tends to be fairly introspective, and when I become introspective, I tend to head for the lower emotions.

And there's the fact that this is a public forum, no matter how hard I try to pretend that it's not. I try not to use names if I think my words will offend someone, and what you're reading are surface thoughts, not the really deep ones. And I've always been told that it's impolite to brag. So maybe that's why I don't talk about the things that I actually like about myself.

K.T. gave me permission to put up her letter, and while the whole thing is a bit long (and contains some parts that I'd rather keep private) I thought I'd give you one excerpt, and let you see me through someone else's eyes.
All of this sort of boils around to a point somewhere - I'm sure I had a point. Really, I did... now, where did I put it? Oh, yes, self-esteem. Something I don't think you have much of. Something I've put lots of effort into getting. Have you ever considered seeing a therapist? I didn't like going to a therapist, and so worked it out on my own. But you really could use an ego boost. A LOT of what you write in your journal sounds like it has that small voice behind it "I'm not worth anything, I'm insignificant, I'm fat, I'm ugly, nobody likes me." Don't you hate that voice? Don't you just wish for 5 seconds it would SHUT UP and leave you alone?

There's no easy route to silencing it, and even now, as much as I think I've improved, I still hear it now and again. Part of silencing it is small steps... I started small. Worked up to bigger things later. First thing I did was made a list. A list of all the things I liked about myself and all the things I hated about myself. Everything. Everything I could think of. It took DAYS. On the things that I liked were "length of hair, talent for smart remarks, intelligent, good with computers." The list of things I hated covered the front and back of three sheets of paper. "Weight, looks, habit of talking without thinking, hairstyle, eye color, hair color, fact that I still smoke, etc." I divided the list of hates into several categories - appearance, personality, knowledge, other. I divided those lists into several lists - things I can change, things I can't change, things I don't want to change. I made lists of the traits I admired in other people, honesty, integrity, appearance, confidence, etc. I put those on a list of goals. Things I would like to be. I added to those, the list of things I can change about myself. Long list. Really long.

How depressing. So I made another list. Things I didn't like about other people - hypocrisy, dishonesty, condescension, etc etc. That was a pretty long list. Then I spent a while analyzing myself and seeing if I honestly thought I had any of those traits. Some... add it to the list of goals... list is even longer now. More depressing. Then I took one other person and made a list of things I liked about her and things I didn't like about her. Long list. We had a lot of traits in common, she and I. And I still liked her anyway. I thought she was worthwhile, fun to be with, very pretty... she has very nice skin, and lovely soft long hair. She was very smart, witty, sarcastic, sometimes impatient, sometimes easily irritated, sometimes erratic and crazy. She has her faults too. She's absent-minded, quick to make snap judgements about people, complains alot, has no self-esteem, non-confrontational, almost never stands up for herself. Long list. But I think she's a worthwhile person, and I think my life has been greatly improved by knowing her. And I thought, you know, she's gone out of her way to continue to be friends with me, when there is no reason why she should, and every possible reason why she shouldn't. So maybe, there is something worthwhile about me after all.
Anyway, that's K.T. And the point I wanted to make today was that I really do have a little self-esteem. More now than any time in the last ten years, really. Every now and then, I don't worry about being overweight. Every once in a while, I'll look at myself in the mirror in the bathroom and be stunned for a few seconds at how pretty I look that day. I've finally learned how to take a compliment. (When I first started dating Matt, I contradicted every nice thing he said about me. Now I can at least smile and say "Thank you," even if I don't agree.) Every now and then I look around at the good things in my life and am able to say, "I deserve this."

I just wanted you to know.

Monday, March 15, 1999

Archive - 15 March 1999

Did you think I had forgotten you? I wouldn't do that! But since I finally have an actual project to work on at work, I thought I should do at least some of that before writing in my diary.

I promised Matt last night that, since I bought a three-pound bag of Jelly Bellys this weekend, I wouldn't whine about going to aerobics until the Jelly Bellys were gone. I'd forgotten that today was Girl Scout Cookie Delivery Day. I suppose I'll have to extend my promise until the cookies are gone, too. (That only includes "active" cookies - Thin Mints put in the freezer until later this summer don't count.) But today's pretty much a wash, as far as the diet is concerned. And ya know what? I don't care!

I just came out of a meeting - not only do I have a project this week, but I already know what I'll be working on when the current project is done! An unprecedented amount of planning!

Sorry, my sarcasm production went into overload.

And now I just came back from lunch. The latest batch of soup I made is pretty good. Wish I could remember what I did. ::grin::

Okay, I know, this is unspeakably short and boring, but really, there's nothing to talk about, and I really should be getting back to work. Sorry. Maybe I'll feel more talkative tomorrow.

Sunday, March 14, 1999

Archive - 14 March 1999

Ah, it feels good to have the chores done. Laundry washed and folded and put away; groceries for the week bought and put away; and the last of the taxes done and paid. It's raining outside, and I have several good books to read, and jelly beans to munch on... Hmm. Life is good. So, what shall I write about today? There was something I thought about earlier, but I can't remember what it was, so it probably wasn't all that exciting...

Matt's watching something in the other room on the TV involving a lot of screaming. I'd be willing to bet that if I got up and went in there, the girl doing the screaming would be about half-dressed. It's definitely one of those sorts of shows.

There's something to talk about: TV. Before Matt and I started dating, before I even knew that I wanted to date him, Matt didn't watch TV. He lived with KT and Ashby, and I more-or-less lived with Jeff, and aside from the weekly gathering to watch Star Trek: Voyager, Matt just wasn't interested in TV. Someone would put in a tape or turn it on, and he'd excuse himself from the room and go play on the computer for a while. I was never taken with TV, either. After we started dating, I thought it would be one of those things that we would agree on a lot.

When he moved in with me, I had cable. There was no reception without cable, and while I'm not a huge fan of TV, I do occasionally like to watch a special on A&E, or sitcom reruns when I'm feeling bored. After we'd been living together a while, he told me he wanted to get HBO, mostly because HBO was where The Storyteller was. (The Storyteller is a Jim Henson/Muppets production which brings fairy-tales to life very beautifully. Matt is a major Jim Henson fan.) Well, with two incomes, we could afford it, so I agreed. And that didn't bother me any.

But now... He watches cartoons every morning while I'm in the shower. In deference, I suppose, to the fact that I think the cartoon he watches is crap, when I'm in the room, he's watching ESPN's SportsCenter. In the evenings and on the weekends, if he isn't on the computer, he's watching television.

He's turned into a remote-control fiend, too. He'll only stay on a channel for about three seconds before changing it if he doesn't like it. Even when I'm watching, too, it never seems to occur to him to wonder whether I've seen enough of it to tell whether I'd like to see it. The few times I've seen enough to be intrigued by the show, I usually resist telling him to turn the channel back, because watching TV seems so much more important to him than it does to me. I don't care if I miss the show - after all, I only saw three seconds of it. But he gets really irritable if he can't find something on that he deems worthwhile. (And I'll be damned if I can figure out what his criteria are, either.)

Don't get me wrong. Aside from ESPN and the crappy morning cartoons, most of what he chooses to watch is either educational or fun, or both. I don't really mind that he engrosses himself in television, especially considering how much I engross myself in books. But...

A while back - a year and a half or so, I guess - a friend of ours came to town to visit many friends, and we offered to let him stay with us, and he accepted. While he was in town, he visited with everyone except us, and then the morning he was due to leave, spent the entire morning watching the NBA draft on ESPN, instead of talking with us. (He talked to us about the draft, but I don't count that. I was desperately bored, moderately offended, and very certain that this friend was not being invited back. I'll happily meet him elsewhere for dinner, or at another friend's house, but I really don't want to subject myself to another six hour stint of ESPN.) And I worry that this is what Matt is turning into. Oh, it's not a huge worry. I suspect that if I asked Matt to turn off the TV and spend some time with me, he'd do so quite happily. And - as I said - since I spend most of my time reading, it's not like I feel that he's ignoring me for the TV. Actually, I probably ignore him more than he ignores me. But there is this niggling doubt, especially in the mornings, when I hear the pathetic dialogue and heavy-handed morality of the cartoon blaring forth.

The other thing that bothers me is his perception of things. We still tell our friends that we don't watch a lot of TV. And in a way, that's true. Matt doesn't watch a single popular TV series. He just aimlessly flips through the channels. But does he really think that the actual hours are still few? Check out this entry in his Random Scribblings. He lists a lot of excuses for not finding the time to read anymore, but I do all the things he lists, and I still find plenty of reading time. What's he doing when I'm reading? There are only two things on the list: playing on the computer, and watching TV. To be fair, playing on the computer takes up probably 70% or more of that time, not the TV. But I was slightly disturbed to notice that he didn't mention either activity. Well, it wouldn't have fit with the post he was writing. Maybe he does realize, and left those things out just to improve the writing.

Ah, this sounds like a complaint, and I didn't mean it to. It doesn't bother me that he watches so much TV - he still watches less than two hours a day, which is a miniscule amount of TV for an American. And, though it bothers me that he enjoys so many programs that I think are terrible (certain cartoons and ESPN, specifically), tastes are different, and that's fine, too. This was just supposed to be a ramble on how the TV can take over your life, and how stealthily it can do so when you're not paying attention. Matt was just the obvious example. I'm sure I watch a lot more TV than I used to, too.

Ah, well. Enough of that.

Saturday, March 13, 1999

Archive - 13 March 1999

Okay, it's late, but it's still Saturday. Actually, it's not late in the day, it's just later than I usually post journal entries. Though I've never posted one from home before, so there isn't really a usual time for weekend postings. Or are weekend postings allowed to be different?

Wow, was that ramble-y.

Had a nice day today, though. I slept in late (okay, I only slept until about 8, but it felt good to wake up on my own for once) and we lounged around the house all morning. Ahhh....

Wanna hear something weird? On the weekends, I very frequently don't eat anything until well after noon. Just don't feel hungry. Or if I do feel hungry, it just doesn't seem important. But at work, I feel like I'm going to die if I don't eat my breakfast by 9, and then I'm hungry again at 11. But on weekends, I seem to eat more junkfood, so it's harder, despite the skipped meal, to make my points turn out even. I wonder if that's something that will get easier to control the longer I stay in the Weight Watcher's program, or if it's just the way things are. Matt says he thinks the increased desire to eat during the week is from boredom. I think he's probably at least partially right - if I'm working on a really engrossing project, I tend to skip meals at work, too.

Maybe I just need more work to do. (Nah, don't pass that on to my boss; I'd have to stop updating my journal so regularly, and we wouldn't want that, would we?)

We went to Sam's Club today, ostensibly to pick up shampoo and kleenex. (I swear, it's amazing how fast two people can go through kleenex.) But of course, it's Sam's Club so we also picked up some impulse items. Matt got a big bag of Craisins - if you haven't seen them before, these are sugar-soaked, dried cranberries. They're pretty good. Matt generally eats whole bags at a time. I'm trying to convince him to save a handful this time; there's a recipe on the back of the bag that I want to try. And he got himself a pack of 18 Cadbury Creme Eggs. (I teased him that he should try to make them last all the way to Easter. I'll be surprised if they last to the end of the week. Sugar doesn't last long around here.) I got myself some teriyaki-flavored beef jerky and a three-pound bag of Jelly Bellies Sours (my favorites - no other jelly bean or even Jelly Bellies would have tempted me). "Only 4 calories per bean!" the bag bragged. Hah. I was good. I was! I waited until we got home and had dinner, and then I carefully figured out exactly how many beans I could have to get up to the minimum number of points for today. Fifty-five beans would have done it for me. So I carefully counted out fifty-five beans (eleven of each color - you have to be either anal or obsessive-compulsive to really appreciate the Weight Watcher's plan) into a little baggie so I could munch while reading my book.

Boy, did that look like a pathetic amount of candy. But I took it over to the couch, and sat down with my book, and several pages later I realized the baggie was empty. Yup. Pathetic. Okay, well, Weight Watcher's allows a range of points, and I would just have another serving. This time, I'd admit that I'm a Jelly Belly pig, and figure out the maximum amount of beans I could have today. Counted those out obsessively. They still looked pretty pathetic. I'm wishing I hadn't bought the jelly beans and had made meringue kisses instead. They're less filling than jelly beans, but at least they look like they have some volume! But I hadn't eaten all the counted-out beans before I started feeling full. So I left the fifteen or so remaining beans. It's only 7:30, and I'm sure I'll want more before I go to bed, and I really don't want to blow it today.

So I sat down with my book and... Oh, wait. You don't know this. Okay, you're about to read about a moderately gross eating habit of mine. If you think this might bother you, skip to the next paragraph right now. I eat bouillon. I don't mean broth - I mean the little granules that you make broth with. I eat it right out of the jar. Yeah, it's essentially chicken (or beef) flavored salt, and I'm sure it isn't helping my blood pressure any. But I don't use any salt the rest of the time, and the last time I went to the doctor, my blood pressure was within normal limits, so don't start preaching to me. It's a less destructive habit than smoking. So I sat down with my book and the jar of bouillon.

(Now that we've rejoined with the squeamish people... Oh, go on and confess - you were too curious to skip it, and you read it anyway, and now you're wishing you hadn't, right?) Anyway, I sat down to read and munch, and Matt comes up and asks me if I'm going to update my journal today. Well, I'd logged in earlier today to do just that but I'd gotten caught up in working on my photo album. (It's not complete. You'll just have to wait.) So here we go. One bona-fide journal entry.

Okay, it isn't very exciting, but you know what? My weekend life just isn't exciting. I kindof like it that way. I like to just lounge around and not be responsible for anything sometimes. Deal with it. ::grin::

Friday, March 12, 1999

Archive - 12 March 1999

Two entries in one day? Is that legal? Ah, who cares. I wanted to ramble, so I'm going to ramble. It's probably better for me than reading. At least if I'm working on my website, it looks like I'm doing work from a distance. Typing noises are coming from behind my monitor.

Don't ask my why, but I was thinking about Cerebus earlier today. My mind wanders a lot; I can't help it. Anyway, you don't need to be familiar with the comic to follow this thought, so don't worry about it. Here's the thing: Lately, the author (Dave Sim) has been examining relationships. Actually, he's been doing it for a while. Much speculation has been bandied about as to whether art is mirroring life, etc, etc. Dave has even been accused of being a misogynist, which I personally don't believe. I'm getting off track here, aren't I? Okay, anyway, just lately the main character, Cerebus, has finally been in a relationship with this woman he's been chasing for a while. And he got the relationship because of this piece of advice: "With the unhappy ones, all you have to do is be happy enough for two, every single minute for the rest of your life, and you've got them." Okay, I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the comic with me at work. But that's the main thrust.

My initial reaction to this was, oh, Dave's oversimplifying again; taking a spark of truth and pulling it out of context to make it seem brighter than it is. But just today, it occurred to me that that might very well describe me.

I won't go into a lot of detail here, because I suspect most of my regular readers already know about most of my romantic life before I fell in love with Matt, and because it's too much to get into right now. But it does seem to me that just perhaps, the problems with my previous relationships were related to the fact that my lovers weren't as happy as they could be... And I know for a fact that if I had to pick one single trait that I loved most about Matt, it's his good humor and the fact that he can almost always make me laugh. And I'm very uncomfortable when Matt isn't happy, even if I'm not the reason.

Oh, there's more to it than that. I have confidence in that. But it does worry me a little. Am I one of the "unhappy ones"? I like to think of myself as a relatively happy person most of the time. But maybe I'm not. I was depressed when I was in grad school - was that because I'm an unhappy one, or merely because I'm so introverted that I wasn't making any friends? Or maybe that's what it means to be an unhappy one. But I don't really think I'm unhappy. Or maybe I am. Look at all the space in this journal that gets devoted to whining.

Ah, I'll never know. It's just something that struck me. It's probably nothing. Just one of those ideas you have sometimes, and you want to write it down before you forget it...

Archive - 12 March 1999

So now I have to decide, having decided to write every day, whether "every day" includes the weekends. I don't spend a lot of time on the computer on weekends, usually. But it's always on, since Matt spends plenty of time on the computer. And I do check my mail once or twice a day. And I should - what good is it to say "I'll update my journal every day," if I skip it on weekends just because it's inconvenient.

Well, I'll give it a shot. But don't hold me to it. ::grin::

So what's new today? A bit of disappointment on the house. Quite a bit, actually. Nancy, our realtor, called yesterday to tell us that none of the builder's contractors do any sort of covering for stairs that isn't carpet. We'd been hoping to have the stairs done with a laminate, hardwood, or something like that, because carpet wears out so quickly. But the best they can do for us is leave the stairs completely unfinished and let us hire our own contractor to come in - after closing, of course. And of course the stairs are built with a soft wood like pine, so we can't just sand and stain the unfinished stairs and leave them that way. ::sigh::

We had also been told that we'd have the opportunity to go through the house frame with the electrician and tell him exactly where we wanted our outlets. Nancy told us yesterday that because the electrician has been running slow, they've occasionally used subcontractors to get the work done, and could we please indicate on the blueprints just where we want our outlets, just in case we don't get to go through with the electrician. Dammit, we'd wanted to make sure they understood that we're keeping at least two computers in the front bedroom and that we want a lot of amperage for that room. And that the outlets in the garage need to be on the same level as the outlets in the rest of the house because we're eventually converting the garage to a room. ::sigh::

And we're getting a little nervous about the fact that they haven't started building yet. We picked the end of August as our closing date so they would have plenty of time to build the house. Especially since Nancy confessed that many of the houses were running a month or two behind schedule. They need four months to build a house, and we gave them six. But we're down to five now, and they haven't started. Nancy keeps telling us not to worry, and I keep telling her that if the house isn't ready by August, then we can't move until October because of our weird lease. Gods, I wanted to be out of this damned apartment already, and I'm looking at another six months? Argh.

But we were still mostly happy, because we got our blueprints, finally. And I got them home and I started scanning them in for this webpage (many of our friends and relatives are web-connected, and they're all curious) and I realized that the blueprint included an outside view of all four sides of the house, and a floorplan for the first and second floors, and a plan for the crawlspace, and electrical plans for the first floor... but not the second. We have an old electrical plan for the second floor, and nothing needed to be changed, so I assume what happened is that Nancy got a bit carried away when she was marking through the old plans and putting in the new ones. I'll have to call her later today and tell her about it and hope it won't be too much of a hassle.

So I wasn't too happy. Before we signed a contract, they were bending over backwards to be helpful and reassuring. Now that we've signed and given them faith money, it sortof feels like we're getting kicked into the corner. It's probably not that bad, and I guess we should've expected it a little, but it's still a bit irritating. I'll feel happier when they start construction. The house they're building on the lot next to ours has been going up very quickly, so I guess there's hope.

Anyway, that's what's happening. After that, we just got some Chinese food for dinner and went home and read all evening. Matt has his own take on last night, if you're interested.

Thursday, March 11, 1999

Archive - 11 March 1999

Matt and I actually went to water aerobics last night for the first time in two weeks - Nancy is finally over her flu. Yike. The timer on the fresh water pump was broken or something, and it wouldn't shut off. It had been running for an hour before we got in the pool, and continued running for our entire class. And the fresh water spout spits out water at about 70 degrees, which is to say way too cold for pool water! Especially when it's only 30 degrees outside! The thing was, the water on the opposite side of the pool from the pump was still sortof warm. And there were little pockets of warm water near the pump, too. Weird. If I could've mapped the water temperatures, I could've done an impressive study of fluid dynamics.

But I couldn't, so I gasped and whined every time I hit a cold pocket, and after class I bee-lined through the freezing locker room (it's chilly in there even when I'm not wet - fresh out of the pool, it's unbearable) to the sauna. This is a tactic I came up with a couple of months ago when it became obvious that I was never going to get used to it. I stick my underclothes in my gym bag with my towel and lug the gym back poolside with me. Then I don't even have to stop at the locker before I dive into the sauna. Then I dry off and get half-dressed in there. By the time I've toweled off, put on my bra and underwear, and put lotion on various body parts that dry out too fast because of the chlorine, I'm warm enough to face the rest of the locker room again.

Yeah, I know, I'm a big baby.

Ooooooooohhhh.... Jeremy just downloaded the new Star Wars trailer. Jeremy finagled a new speaker set out of our network administrator a few weeks ago, so I stood right behind his chair and we watched it in surround sound. Gods, I am so psyched about this movie! I just cannot wait! Two whole months...

When they re-released the original trilogy with the upgraded special effects, a bunch of my friends met at a friend's house in Portsmouth for pre-show parties before descending on the theater en masse. We'll be doing the same thing for this movie.

Okay. Enough of that. Jeez, I just ate breakfast an hour ago; how can I be hungry again already? Guess I'll go read a book or something to try to take my mind off it...

Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Archive - 10 March 1999

So I thought I'd try to write in my journal every day, and not just whenever the mood strikes. I'd like to get into the habit of writing every day, even when I don't think I have anything to say. Well into my high school years, I wanted to be a writer. I know now that I probably never will be - I'm just not that good at devising plots, and my characters aren't very memorable. But maybe writing every day will help. Or maybe not, and I'll just make a few avid journal-readers happy with regular posts. Or maybe my dedication will peter out and fade like it so frequently does.

This morning when the alarm went off, I couldn't drag myself out of bed. When Matt's alarm went off, I cursed, muttered, grumbled, and dragged myself up to let the cat in and feed him. Then I went back to bed. Matt asked, "Did you do your exercises?"

Well, no, I hadn't. And I hadn't done them yesterday morning, either. That didn't last very long, did it? I just have to face the fact that getting up early in the morning isn't going to work for me, and find some better time to exercise. (If the company would just sign up with the gym for corporate sponsorship, I think I *might* manage to go at lunch or after work.) Ah, hell, who am I kidding?

I got my 20-pound star at Weight Watchers last night, though! Yay, me! Matt and I are trying to think of something to use as a reward for significant milestones. Dinner out at a nice restaurant is just counterproductive, and I have a tendency to indulge myself with non-food desires (like new books or clothes) as soon as they occur to me. Flowers? Or maybe I'll call the physical therapist and treat myself to an hour-long massage, mmm. If you have any ideas, by all means, let me know!

So while I was at Weight Watchers last night, I bought myself a mug. It holds - oh, I dunno. Three or four cups. It's a sexy glossy black, and has a straw (which was important, because for some reason I like water if I have to suck it out of its container. Keep that thought to yourself). Anyway... I was reasonably happy with it, though some testing over my sink last night revealed that while the lid itself is watertight, the little caps over the drinking and straw holes are not. Good thing I found out early, huh?

This morning, I had the mug about half-full of water, and along with my lunchbox and a book to read and my purse, I put it in the car as I was going to work. Everything else went into the backseat, as usual, except for the mug. Since it had water in it that could be spilled, I put it in the empty passenger seat next to me so I could keep and eye on it. When I got to work, I reached to pick it up and discovered that at some point - don't as me when - it had tipped over, spilling a good half a cup or more of water. The seat was soaked. I managed to scoop most of it out the door with my hands, but it's pretty durn cold here this morning, so I wasn't happy about it. So much for keeping an eye on it! I guess I'll just leave the mug here at the office (this is where I do most of my water drinking anyway) and maybe next week I'll get myself a mug for home. Maybe not, though...

Oh, I forgot, Monday, to give everyone a link to the circus's webpage, so here it is.

I've got a new favorite recipe: Chicken with Caramelized Onion. Wow. It's fantastic. Tons of flavor, very low-cal/low-fat. It takes about half an hour to make, but it's pretty easy; all I have to do for the half-hour is stand there and stir, and occasionally add something. I'm trying to figure out how I could make it in advance and take it with me to games - if I had a plate of this stuff, I wouldn't care if everyone else was eating fast food! Maybe if I left the chicken just slightly undercooked, it would just finish cooking instead of getting tough when I reheated it... Can you tell I like it? I think I'd be happy eating this several times a week. Matt likes it, too, but not as much as I do - it's got a lot of vinegar in it, and Matt isn't as big a fan of onions as I am. If you'd like the recipe, though, e-mail me and I'll be happy to give it to you.

Monday, March 8, 1999

Archive - 8 March 1999

I had such an awesome weekend! Let me tell you about it!

Friday evening Matt and I decided not to go to water aerobics when it turned out that the regular teacher was still out, and the drill sergeant still subbing. (See this page for Matt's summation of the sub.) Anyway, not having to go to class made us both a little happier. I tried a new recipe for dinner that turned out reasonably well, despite having to substitute chicken for veal at the last minute (the veal had spoiled). And when I added up the points, I still had to eat quite a few more calories to make the minimum for my day. I love that - I get to eat junkfood or candy and loudly proclaim, "I'm just following my diet!"

So I made meringue kisses. Easiest recipe in the world, and the resulting cookies/candies are fantastic - crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the whole thing melts in your mouth. Just amazing. In fact, I wound up making two batches, and we munched on them all weekend long. I'll have to remember that recipe for relatively low-calorie treats. (It's just egg whites and sugar, really, but the egg whites spread the sugar out so well that seven kisses is only two points.)

Saturday, my parents came over around 1:30, and we took them over to see the model of the house we're having built, and to look at our lot. My mom hadn't seen anything but floorplans yet, so she was very excited. They both approved, and came up with a number of ideas. Dad wants to come over and check up on the builders every couple of days when they start the building. Matt and I won't argue - Dad knows a lot more about building houses than we do!

After that, we went over to my parents' house for an hour or so and it was very nice to just sit and talk for a while. Then we went out for dinner to the Country Inn, which was a great little ribs joint. Then we were off to the circus!

We got to the Hampton Coliseum about 6:30, an hour before the beginning of the show. Dad picked up the tickets he'd reserved only a minute or two before the doors were opened. Our seats were off to one side, near Ring 1, but at a very nice height. Before the show, they had some hands-on exhibits for the kids - a few animals to pet, clowns doing juggling and tricks, plate spinners, that sort of thing. You had to pay extra to go down onto the floor, but we could see everything we were really interested in (i.e., the juggling and acrobatics) from our seats. The show started promptly at 7:30, and it was fantastic! We bought drinks and popcorn and cotton candy and a stuffed animal, and came home broke, but it was a load of fun. One animal trainer actually had trained housecats. I couldn't get enough. The time flew, and when they went into the closing number, I was positive that it hadn't been anywhere near long enough yet...

Sunday I slept in late, we did the laundry, and then we went over to KT and Kevin's to play Alternity. That was a fun session. Almost all of us died. And we accidentally let the dimension door open, though I'm not sure if that was going to happen anyway... But now there's a big mess our party has to fix, or my character's butt is going to be fired!

All in all, a really good weekend, though it wasn't long enough (they never are, I suppose) and Matt is complaining this morning that his shoulders hurt even though we have no idea what he could have done to them.

Anyway, I thought you'd like to see a post from me that isn't whiney for once! Have a great day!

Friday, March 5, 1999

Archive - 5 March 1999

I want a doughnut. I could even have one if I wanted - someone left a few in the drink cooler in the kitchen, and they've been there for three days, which means they're probably public domain. But I'm trying to be good. And if I'm going to go off the wagon, so to speak, it's not going to be for a three-day-old cold doughnut anyway. I owe that much to myself, at least. If I'm going to go off my diet and get fatter, it might as well be for a fresh doughnut, don't you think?

I could have sworn, this morning driving to work, that I smelled bacon, and I wanted that, too. ::sigh:: I'm glad it's Friday. There's something about being bored at work that makes me want to eat. Heck, there's something about being bored anywhere that makes me want to eat. But I just got a shipment from Quality Paperbacks yesterday, so I probably won't be bored this weekend.

Not that I was going to be bored anyway. The current plan is for my parents to meet us tomorrow so my mom can see the house, and then we're all going to go to the circus. I can't wait - I haven't been to the circus since I was, oh, ten, maybe? I'm a little worried that I'm remembering it different than it actually was, but maybe not. I do remember thinking that they had way too many musical numbers and that I wished they would just get on with the tricks. But maybe as an adult (or at least, a grown-up) I'll be able to appreciate the dancing or whatnot more. When I was a kid, all I wanted to see were clowns and acrobats. We sometimes snuck in big bags of home-made popcorn to munch on, and we invariably came home with cheaply-made (as opposed to cheaply-bought) clown makeup kits - the same kind of thing you can get around Hallowe'en for three or four bucks. It occurs to me that for the first time ever, I'll be at the circus and in control of my own money. (Or at least, enough money to matter. I got thirty-five cents a week when I was ten, and that only if I remembered to ask for it.) I wonder if I'll buy more junk because I can, or less because I'll actually be able to comprehend how overpriced it is?

Doesn't matter; I'm sure I'll have a blast anyway. This morning, Matt and I heard a spot on the radio telling families to bring their kids an hour early for special kid's time - meet the clowns, look at the animals, learn to juggle, that kind of thing. We both looked at each other with this sort of "I wish I could do that" thought shining behind our eyes.

Don't you think people forget what it's like to be a kid? I'm sure I have. Or rather, as people get older, they realize just how trivial kid's concerns are. Every now and then I'll hear someone wish that they could be a child again. Not me. Or rather - I'd love to be a child again, but only if I could keep all of the knowledge and perspective I've gained as an adult. Then, it wouldn't matter if the other kids didn't like me, because I'd know how little it mattered. I'd know how much to appreciate people and places that I didn't know I'd never see again. I'd know the secret to making friends with the other kids, and I'd know to go ahead and take some of the risks I always avoided. I'd actually notice occasionally when guys were flirting with me, and when people who claimed to be my friends were talking about me behind my back. I'd know better than to stay with that guy who was so bad for my self-esteem, and I'd go ahead and go out with the guy who just wanted to have a fun time even though I knew nothing long-term could ever come out of it. (Okay, I'm getting into college here, and you'd think I'd have known better by then, and I'd better shut up because some of these people probably look at this website every now and then.)

But to go back to being a child, truly? Never. Not in a million years. I only got happier as I got older. I was a shy kid, a bit of a nerd, and something of a pariah in elementary school. When I moved from private to public school, a lot of that changed, but I was still too shy for my own good. I never had good comebacks in junior high school, when a quick wit is the only survival mechanism. Things picked up in high school, when I'd acquired a group of friends who I really knew were my friends. College was even better, though there were several things I wish I'd done differently. Grad school wasn't much fun, but it was great when I finally came home. But right now is probably one of the best times of my life. I'm married to a fantastic man; I am wonderfully blessed with friends; I'm on good terms with my entire family - and that includes my in-laws; and I have a well-paying job.

When I think of all of the wonderful things in my life, it seems very petty to actually be so concerned with my appearance. But I guess I want people to see Matt and I together and think, Don't they look like a wonderful couple? Look how pretty she is when she laughs. I'm convinced that what they're really thinking is, Look how fat she is! I wonder what he sees in her? Maybe she got fat after they got married. Isn't it a shame when that happens? A girl gets herself a good man and stops taking care of herself. It's good of him to stay with her. And of course, what other people think really doesn't matter in the slightest... But then, it does. I don't know why, but it does.

So that's why, in spite of being happy with my life and content with myself, I'm not going to have a damn doughnut.

Thursday, March 4, 1999

Archive - 4 March 1999

Last night we had a terrific storm. Lots of wind and heavy rain. I love thunderstorms. We lost power for a little over an hour. I had been making soup to eat later this week, and when I was done with the soup, I was going to make dinner. But just as I was putting the lid on the soup so it could simmer for a while, the power went out. So I had soup for dinner.

The cat woke me up at three this morning. It gets earlier every morning, I swear. Soon, we'll just be putting him outside before we go to bed. But then I might sleep through the night, and I'm sure there's something illegal about that. Anyway, when the cat woke me up at three, I could still hear the wind in the trees behind the apartment, and it sounded like the storm was still in full swing. So I told His Lordship that he really didn't want to go outside. His Lordship disagreed. I tried until five to ignore him, but he really wanted me to get up. So I lost two hours of sleep. Only to find out, when I finally tossed him out, that there was no rain along with the wind, so I could have gotten him out at three and gotten plenty of sleep. (sigh)

All of that leads up to this: I have really vivid dreams when I'm not getting enough sleep. This morning I dreamed that I was sitting in a lecture hall with a bunch of people, some of whom were my friends. And almost everyone there had a stuffed animal or toy with them. Two seats down from me, on the other side of my friend Richard, was a guy I didn't know holding a giant rubber spider.

Background: I hate spiders. My feelings about them verge on phobia. I don't mind a little verbal teasing on this account - I recognize that it's completely irrational on my part - but I do not make friends with the sort of people who might think it was funny to confront me with a spider, real or otherwise. I once decked my brother for showing me a picture of one in a magazine without warning, and then I locked myself in my room and had a hysterical fit for a while. The ability to control the reaction long enough to get rid of the spider first is all that keeps it from being a real phobia.

Anyway, this giant rubber spider wasn't one of those two-fist-sized ones that look almost real. This was the size of the guy's torso, and looked sortof like a balloon. In fact, this exact same giant rubber spider had featured in another dream earlier, only this time it looked like the color had faded. A lot. In short, it was like my brain was trying to tell me, This is not a real spider. Do not be alarmed.

I was pretty cool with it - only slightly widged out. Then this guy starts sortof playing with it; making it "crawl" on my friend Richard. I say something like, "Just keep that thing away from me!" Richard then grabs my arm and holds it out so the fake spider can be made to crawl on it. (Just a note here: Richard is afraid of roaches. True phobia. Treatment failed. He has drawn guns on them. So he knows how it is. In real life, he would never, ever do something like that to me. He'd probably have a few strong words with someone who tried it. So I don't want anyone writing him nasty e-mail along the lines of "How could you?")

Anyway, I reacted in the dream the same way I probably would in real life - I yanked my arm free from Richard's grasp, and then proceeded to hit him with it. And then I woke up.

Let's cut, now, to the dream Matt was having at the exact same time. Matt was dreaming that he was walking around in the snow with several people, including his sister, Rachael. How the subject came up, Matt couldn't remember, but Rachael told him, "But everyone loves children!"

Background time again. Matt and I are not currently interested in having children. Our parents and grandparents have been remarkably good about not pestering us, but we can tell they want us to change our minds. And we eventually may. But not anytime soon.

So Matt responds to his sister's remark with some wiseass comment like, "Sure. Liz and I actually have six kids; we just don't bring them out because they're such snots."

...And that's when I hit him in the stomach.

Monday, March 1, 1999

Archive - 1 March 1999

Well, it's March now. I'm not doing much of anything today because I'm waiting to find out whether the module I wrote has any bugs in it, and the guy I gave it to for testing probably won't get around to it until about Thursday. So I'm just sitting here working on my webpage today. Actually, I just sat around working on my webpage last Friday, too. I didn't get up a journal entry because I was so busy with the rest of the page. Some of what I changed is behind-the-scenes stuff that won't make any difference to readers. But I added a bunch of pictures. Pictures are good, right?

Had a good weekend. We skipped water aerobics on Friday to go to the GreenLeafe with a bunch of people from the office. (The Leafe is a local bar - excuse me, restaurant that serves alcohol. (Bars are illegal in VA.) It's not the most popular alcohol-serving restaurant in the area, because their prices are a little steep for the college students who make up the majority of drinkers in the area. (The Leafe serves a lot of specialty beers, whereas the Delis serve whatever's cheap this week.) But it was fun. We had dinner there and sat drinking until about 8 or so, and then Jeremy and Matt decided they had to look in on the college's Tech Support (the Leafe is across the street from William and Mary's campus). So the four of us (including Jeremy's girlfriend Elizabeth) tromped over to the campus. My bad foot was bothering me, so I went and flopped in the University Center for half an hour while they wandered around.

Saturday we puttered around running errands in the morning. I bought myself a new color printer last weekend - I'd been meaning to get one since before Christmas, but decided to hold off. So anyway, I bought one finally last weekend, and I thought it would be great if I could get some index cards and print out the recipes we actually use, and then we wouldn't have as many cookbooks cluttering up the kitchen. So we went to Staples. What I had in mind was the specialty stuff that Avery makes. When I finally found it, I was astonished to learn that the Avery stuff was like $15 for only 150 note cards. Regular plain index cards were only $3.50 for 500 of them, so I got those and decided for that much savings, I could blow as many as I needed to, to get the settings right. And it only took me about four tries to get everything lined up the way I wanted it.

Since I got the new printer, though, I spent more time wandering around Staples. Here's something funny for you: I hardly ever print anything, really. The occasional letter, or a shopping list, or a budget. But since I just got the brand-new color printer I was lingering over all the novelty paper like a kid in a candy shop. I kept having conversations with myself:
Let's get this stuff with the parchment scroll on it.
What are we going to do with that?
I dunno, but it's really cool. Chuck had it, remember? He used it for the game.
Yeah, but we're not in a game right now. What would you use it for?
Ooh! This is kindof cute.
It's just some graphics at the top of normal paper. You have a color printer - if you want graphics at the top, just print graphics at the top!
Yeah, but that would use up the color ink faster.
I'm willing to bet that the amount of ink used to print those graphics is not more expensive than buying a whole pack of the paper and using only two sheets.
Like that. Anyway, after we ran our errands, we went down to visit my mom for a while. (Dad was at a scouting event, or we'd have visited him, too.) We went to dinner at Don Pablo's and I blew my diet just a little bit - I thought if I had the dinner salad with no cheese and plain vinegar for dressing, then I'd have enough points left over to have dessert (I adore their ice cream nachos). But when I got home and added it up, I was a bit over anyway. Oh, well. Saturday night we rented The Full Monty. That was really good. Just fantastic. Hysterically funny. Even after we'd gone to bed, I would remember some scene and start giggling again. If you haven't seen it yet, rent it!

Sunday after we did the chores (Sunday is laundry and grocery day) we swung by my folks' house to visit with my dad a little bit and then headed down to KT and Kevin's place for the Alternity game. That was fun, especially after the Twerp left and Richard and Carl showed up. I'd forgotten what it was like to game with them. We had a blast. I even stayed until ten, which broke the rule I had set right at the beginning that I would not stay later than nine. (I get cranky if I don't get eight hours of sleep a night, but it was so great to see Rick and Carl...)

But I blew my diet again. I thought I'd reserved enough points for dinner, and wound up blowing it anyway by having two McD's hamburgers and two side salads. ::sigh:: Matt and I talked about it on the way home, and we decided that from now on, we'll bring our own dinner to the games. I just can not stick to my diet if we're going to be having fast food and pizza every gaming session. So I'll start bringing a can of soup or something. Maybe that chicken and caramelized onion recipe I picked up, since I like onions so much. And I'm going to try to get up every morning as soon as the alarm goes off and do some exercise. I'm starting with just five minutes, and I won't be counting repetitions or anything - just doing situps or leglifts or pushups or arm curls until the timer goes off. And then every other day or maybe once a week, I'll increase the time by thirty seconds, until I'm up to maybe fifteen or twenty minutes. I know, I've made plans like this before. But I've really got to take control, or even after I lose all the weight I want to lose, I'll just be this flabby skin hanging off my skeleton, and I really won't be any better looking than now.

KT's so together about it. She seems to have finally made peace with her body, and now being overweight doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest. It seems like, for her, she wants to be more healthy, but couldn't care less about her figure. I wish I could manage that - it seems like a more emotionally healthy outlook - but I just look down at my stomach and think about how gross it looks. It doesn't seem to matter that my cholesterol and blood pressure levels are as healthy as they've been in years. I want this stomach gone! I want my breasts to shrink so they don't hang down; I'm short-waisted enough as it is! I want to be able to wear sleeveless shirts and shorts and not be embarrassed! ::sigh::

Actually, I'm in a pretty good mood today. Don't let my diet ranting get to you. Maybe exercising in the morning is good for me.